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Eye of the Bear: A History Novel of Early California Paperback – January, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Bridge House Books (January 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965348741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965348744
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
A wonderful wordsmith, beautiful job.
LadyD
This is a great story of early California from the perspective of the Native Americans who inhabited the land just as the Spanish missions were been started.
Osulli
This is truley one of the best historical novel about Calif. that I have read!
sally

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is as excellent and finely constructed as is Ms. West's prior book, "River of Red Gold", which follows "Eye of the Bear" in time. Her obvious extensive research is paid off in a compelling tale of pre-gold-rush (1820's) California, and the conflict between and among the Native Americans, the Spanish/Mexican secular rulers, and the religious zealots of the early California Missions. Interweaving historical characters with fictional representations of the time, "Eye of the Bear" draws the reader into a starkly believable environment. The story is painted with well-developed characters, engaged in love, hatred, empathy and war. I'm sorry these two books weren't written (and would recommend that they be read) in reverse order -- nonetheless, I hope another volume, perhaps continuing the same story but set in POST-gold-rush days, will follow. The book is long (over 600 pages), but I couldn't put it down until I came...sadly...to it's ending.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jason D. Treadway on September 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a fellow Northern Californian I really enjoyed reading both of Ms. West's stories. I met her at a book signing and I preferred to read Eye of the Bear first as it is a prequel to The river of red gold. I lived in the area that the books are mainly set in. (Sacramento) I have been to most of the areas and it really makes it more interesting to visualize the home of the Mi-wok's. The Sloughhouse Inn in the book is still there (although closed at the moment-2006-due to ownership problems. Both Eye and River of Red Gold are 5 star reads.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Brandt on March 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
This excellent prequel to Ms. West's "River of Red Gold," the first volume of her Central Califonia historical trilogy, provides lots of information about California in the early 1800's (before the Gold Rush). It is a valiant and very helpful effort to give a voice to the Native Americans who lived in California at the time, most of whom are gone now.

As a linguist, I was particularly fascinated by her painstaking work on native languages, much of which she clearly deepened after the first book. If you live in California, and want to know why some of our rivers have such strange names (American, Cosumnes, Mokelumne, Calaveras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne), you absolutely must read this book. The names will never be the same to you again.

As was true for Ms. West's first book, the detail is convincing and accurate. One example I might give is the odd ridge-like rock formations that cross Putah Creek. I recognized them immediately from her description.

Like "River of Red Gold," this is not a book of happy history. Ms. West's genius is to bring alive all if the best aspects of the times as well as the tragedies, so that the reader can absorb and understand the injustices, while still enjoying the wonderful tales of heroic and rightous characters.
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By LadyD on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Eye of the Bear is not what I expected! Naida West has done a superb job in weaving historical fact with fiction and creating the first of 3 great novels about the California Native Americans.

In the back of Naida West's novel is a list of glossary terms. You will learn about the Neophytes. During the time of establishing Missions along the California Coast and inland, the captured Indians, called neophytes were baptized Indians into the Catholic faith. The details of their cruel torture and punishment while confined to the mission walls and way of life was difficult for me to read and almost unforgivable by the Black Hats. This is a fanciful name for the Mexican soldiers who lived in the Presidios of San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Francisco.

Not only does Naida West explain the Spanish terms in her book such as Tulares, a specie of giant hollow-stemmed marsh grass known as Tule Fog but Nadia's main character, Grizzly Hair becomes her main fictional character. The author's huge efforts of research greatly shows in her ***** star novel, Eye of the Bear. If you want to learn the stories of the Indians and their life style, plus the stern, cruel taskmaster's of the mission, like Father Narcisco Duran then you must purchase the book!

Naida reveals so much of what really went on in the missions, stuff you would never learn in school nor have any idea... the land that you walk on was once inhabited by these dear people.

Naida West did a masterful job weaving fact/fiction with California history that I had not known before. A wonderful wordsmith, beautiful job. Naida deserves much praise for Eye Of The Bear.

I'm looking forward to reading her next book in the series.
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By GCubed on November 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
I found this book in a hotel library at a hotel in Sonoma where I stay often. What an amazing tale! I have read non-fiction books about California history and they are informative, yet dry. This book was engaging, informative, accurate and well written. Like a good novel with exciting things happening, yet historically accurate. After reading this book, I actually went to the Mission in Sonoma and went on a tour for the first time after walking by it many, many times. I had a different perspective. If you like history about California and like a faster pace than straight non-fiction, this book is for you.
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